Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 160, Issue 1, pp 89–97 | Cite as

Control of a teleost social signal

I. Neural basis for differential expression of a color pattern
  • Linda E. Muske
  • Russell D. Fernald
Article

Summary

Territorial maleHaplochromis burtoni (Teleostei; Cichlidae) have a dark facial stripe, the ‘eyebar’, which can appear and disappear within seconds, independently of other coloration patterns. It is used to signal territory ownership and aggressive intent. Some males, called ‘barless’, have functional melanophores in the eyebar region but never display this pattern, because melanin in eyebar pigment cells is never dispersed.

The eyebar melanophores are controlled by a specialized branch of the maxillary nerve. Lesioning the ‘eyebar nerve’ resulted in immediate melanin dispersion and consequent darkening of the eyebar pattern, and it abolished the normal paling response in all behavioral situations. Nerve lesion produced similar results in both barred and barless males, except that the coloration of the denervated eyebar in barless males was more similar to camouflage markings than to the conspicuous black eyebar used as a social signal.

Electrical stimulation of the maxillary nerve produced melanin aggregation. Photoelectric recordings of this paling response revealed no differences between barred and barless males, or between the eyebar and other facial chromatophores that do not function as visual displays. Thus, the difference in the physiological state of eyebar melanophores in intact barred and barless males cannot be explained by differences in peripheral nerve anatomy or physiology.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Baerends GP (1976) The significance of colour patterns in fish for the study of some fundamental tissues in behaviour. Rev Trans Inst Peches Mark 40:413–423Google Scholar
  2. Bagnara JT, Hadley ME (1973) Chromatophores and color change. Prentice Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  3. Bauer DH, Demski LS (1980) Vertical banding evoked by electrical stimulation of the brain in anaesthetized green sunfishLepomis cyanellus and bluegills,Lepomis machrochirus. J Exp Biol 84:149–160Google Scholar
  4. Cott HB (1957) Adaptive coloration in animals. Methuen, LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. Denton EJ, Land MF (1971) Mechanism of reflexion in silvery layers of fish and cephalopods. Proc R Soc Lond A 178:43–61Google Scholar
  6. Euler US von (1959) Autonomic neuroeffector transmission. In: Handbook of physiology, sect. 1. Neurophysiology, vol 1. Am Physiol Soc, Washington DC, pp 215–237Google Scholar
  7. Falck B, Muntzing J, Rosengren AM (1969) Adrenergic nerves to the dermal melanophores of the rainbow trout,Salmo gairdneri. Z Zellforsch 99:430–434Google Scholar
  8. Fernald RD (1977) Quantitative observations ofHaplochromis burtoni under semi-natural conditions. Anim Behav 25:643–653Google Scholar
  9. Fernald RD (1980) Response of male cichlid fish,Haplochromis burtoni, reared in isolation to models of conspecifics. Z Tierpsychol 54:85–93Google Scholar
  10. Fernald RD, Hirata NR (1977 a) Field study ofHaplochromis burtoni: Habitats and cohabitants. Env Biol Fish 2:299–308Google Scholar
  11. Fernald RD, Hirata NR (1977b) Field study ofHaplochromis burtoni: Quantitative behavioral observations. Anim Behav 25:964–975Google Scholar
  12. Fine ML, Winn HE, Olla BL (1977) Communication in fishes. In: Sebeok TA (ed) How animals communicate. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, pp 472–518Google Scholar
  13. Frisch K von (1911) Beiträge zur Physiologie der Pigmentzellen in der Fischhaut. Arch Ges Physiol 138:319–387Google Scholar
  14. Fujii R (1969) Chromatophores and pigments. In: Hoar WS, Randall DJ (eds) Fish physiology, vol II. Academic Press, New York, pp 307–353Google Scholar
  15. Fujii R, Novales R (1969) The nervous mechanism controlling pigment aggregation inFundulus melanophores. Comp Biochem Physiol 29:109–124Google Scholar
  16. Gray EG (1956) Control of the melanophores of the minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus L.). J Exp Biol 33:448–459Google Scholar
  17. Hailman JP (1977) Optical signals. Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Don Mills, Ontario, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  18. Healey EG (1951) The colour change of the minnowPhoxinus laevis (AG). I. Effects of spinal section between vertebrae 5 and 12 on the responses of the melanophores. J Exp Biol 28:297–319Google Scholar
  19. Heiligenberg W, Kramer U, Schulz V (1972) The angular orientation of the black eye-bar inHaplochromis burtoni (Cichlidae, Pisces) and its relevance to aggressivity. Z Vergl Physiol 76:168–176Google Scholar
  20. Hoyle G (1957) Comparative physiology of the nervous control of muscular contraction. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  21. Land MF (1972) The physics and biology of animal reflectors. Progr Biophys Molec Biol 24:75–106Google Scholar
  22. Leong C-Y (1969) The quantitative effect of releasers on the attack readiness of the fishHaplochromis burtoni (Cichlidae: Pisces). Z Vergl Physiol 65:29–50Google Scholar
  23. Muske LE (1983) To bar or not to bar? Control of a social signal. PhD Diss, University of OregonGoogle Scholar
  24. Muske LE, Fernald RD (1987) Control of a teleost social signal. II. Anatomical and physiological specializations of chromatophores. J Comp Physiol A 160:99–107Google Scholar
  25. Odiorne JM (1957) Color changes. In: Brown ME (ed) The physiology of fishes, vol 2. Academic Press, New York, pp 387–401Google Scholar
  26. Oshima N, Fujii R (1984) A precision photoelectric method for recording chromatophore responses in vitro. Zool Sci 1:545–552Google Scholar
  27. Pye JD (1964) Nervous control of chromatophores in teleost fishes. I. Electrical stimulation in the minnowPhoxinus phoxinus (L.). J Exp Biol 41:525–534Google Scholar
  28. Waring H (1963) Color change mechanism of cold-blooded vertebrates. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Zar JH (1974) Biostatistical analysis. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda E. Muske
    • 1
  • Russell D. Fernald
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of NeuroscienceUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

Personalised recommendations